Spring 2014

Art and Art History Event Calendar


Life Model Sessions

Every Tuesday Starting February 4

8:30-10:00 PM, Montgomery Hall

Visiting Artist Talk: Kathleen Hall

February 26th, 4:45 PM, Library 321

Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Sachs 


Sarah received her BA in Studio Art from St. Mary's College of Maryland in 2006. In 2008, she received her Masters of Art in Digital Art from Maryland Institute College of Art, and in 2009 she received her Masters of Fine Art in Photography and Digital Imaging, also from Maryland Institute College of Art. Through her fine art work, Sarah explores the dichotomy between human and digital memory, how the two influence one another, and how they are affected by natural and technological elements of decay. She hopes to create a dialogue about the relationships between personal memory, society’s collective memory, and collective cultural identity. 

Sarah Sachs Photography


Michael Grunseth, Art History SMP, 2008                Return to SMP archives
Mentor: Dr. Cristin Cash

History Re-Imagined; An Analysis of the Films Apocalypto, The New World, and The Road to El Dorado

Disney's ElDorado

Abstract:There has been a notable rise in the number of American produced historical epics in both mainstream and independent cinemas within the last five years. Specifically, there has been an increase in animated and live-action epics located in Ancient America at the moment of European contact. The variety of filmic genre depicting the contact period provides a breadth of narratives and environments that deserve dissection. The empirical study of these visual spaces and places illustrate the construction of these facets of filmmaking and subsequently their function. This paper investigates a cross-section of these genres to gather what similar approaches the filmmaker is taking to the period people depicted in the moment of contact. The analysis of visual environments within American films that depict the moment of contact between Europe and Ancient America brings forth more additional information relevant to the technical, narrative, and socio-cultural significance of the film. This information can be found in the film in other aspects of the work than just those illustrated within the contained story and plot. These meanings either concern contemporary American perceptions of these times, or period beliefs. I will analyze the action-drama Apocalypto , the melodrama The New World , and the animated action-adventure The Road to El Dorado. Each of these films depicts the moment of contact, and through visual environments present information to the audience about these people and their world than is exposed through the performance of the actors. The worldviews and socio-cultural organizations of these represented people are exposed through the environments they exist it, as well as how they encounter these environments. Do spaces and places function as active agents in the prescription of filmic meaning? Do the environments within these three films directly inform audience reception of the historic re-imagined or fictive space created and represented within these films? More specifically, are environments visually coded to communicate determined positions on cultures presented in the film, prompting the audience to favor Ancient Americans or Europeans?